Game of Thrones Phishing Scam Uncovered

A new, complex Game of Thrones phishing scam has been discovered which is targeting individuals who illegally obtain pirated copies of the HBO series. Game of Thrones is the most pirated TV show on record, with many individuals choosing to illegally obtain the most recent episodes to get their GOT fix. This has not escaped the attention of hackers.

Game of Thrones Phishing Scam Emails Shared through ISPs

The hackers have used an innovative scam to make their scam more realistic. The emails claim to have been shared by IP-Echelon, the company that is used by HBO and other entertainment companies to enforce copyright laws. IP-Echelon has already shared many copyright infringement emails to illegal downloaders of movies and TV shows on behalf of a number of firms.

The ISPs, thinking that the copyright infringement notices to be genuine, then send the emails to customers. Since the notice is shared by the ISP, the Game of Thrones phishing scam appears to be real.

The customer is advised that they must settle the case swiftlly – within 72 hours – in order to avoid legal action. To settle the case, the customer must click on a link to review the settlement offer and make payment. Failure to do this will see that settlement offer withdrawn. The email says that the settlement about will go up due to this.

The scam has been operating in the United States, although there have been a number of reports of people in Canada, Europe, and Australia also having been targeted with the same email scam.

It is no known at this point whether the hackers are specifically targeting individuals who have accessed torrent sites and have obtained torrent files, or whether the emails are being sent out randomly. Some individuals have taken to Internet forums to claim that they have not carried out any illegal downloads, while others have been using torrent sites to illegally obtain TV shows and movies.

HBO has previously taken action over illegal downloaders and has used IP-Echelon to share notices very similar to those being used by the hackers. Since the Game of Thrones phishing scam appears to be so genuine, many illegal downloaders may be tricked into making the payment. However, that payment will go directly to the hackers.

As happens with all email requests such as this, the recipient should take action to verify the authenticity of the email prior to doing anything. Contacting the company that shared the message – using the contact telephone number on the company’s official website – is the best way to ascertain authenticity. Email recipients should never use any contact details that is sent in the email body.

Some ISPs have taken steps to prove the authenticity of the emails and have noticed they are a scam, but not all. Many have been shared by ISPs who believed the scam emails to be authentic.

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Elizabeth Hernandez

Elizabeth Hernandez is a news writer on Defensorum. Elizabeth is an experienced journalist who has worked on many publications for several years. Elizabeth writers about compliance and the related areas of IT security breaches. Elizabeth's has a focus data privacy and secure handling of personal information. Elizabeth has a postgraduate degree in journalism. Elizabeth Hernandez is the editor of HIPAAZone.